“Far from having unconditional love from his base, Trump has already lost almost a third of his strong support,” Nate Silver concluded in a FiveThirtyEight analysis of polls.
Trump lost the most from his strong approval ratings due to the Republican health care bill, falling considerably when Republicans introduced Trumpcare V 1 and again in May after Trumpcare V 2 and the firing of Comey, FiveThirtyEight found, based on an analysis of the collection of polls they use for their approval ratings tracker.
That left Trump with just 21.4% strong approval of his performance.
After a slight uptick in the first two to three weeks of his term, Trump’s strong approval ratings have headed downward. But it hasn’t been a steady decline. Instead, they fell considerably from about 29 percent on March 6 — when Republicans introduced their health care bill — to around 24 percent on April 1, shortly after the GOP pulled the bill from the House floor. They then remained stable for much of April, before beginning to fall again this month after the reintroduction (and House passage) of the health care bill and after Trump fired FBI director James Comey on May 9. As of Tuesday, just 21.4 percent of Americans strongly approved of Trump’s performance.
This doesn’t mean that Donald Trump is doomed at all, and Democrats shouldn’t assume his downfall is imminent. But, those GOP health care bills were costly and given that Trump seems determined to stick it to his predecessor President Obama by repealing Obamacare, the health care bill damage is probably not over yet.
“The data suggests, in particular, that the GOP’s initial attempt (and failure) in March to pass its unpopular health care bill may have cost Trump with his core supporters.”
I observed anecdotally that around this same time that many of the seemingly meant to be permanent Trump signs in rural western Pennsylvania — strong Trump country — were suddenly taken down. It seemed to correlate with the health care bill, but I had no data to point me in the right direction.
It’s possible that Trump’s base is upset that he didn’t repeal Obamacare, but the high levels of anger about the Republican health care bill as expressed at town halls and in polls belies this theory. It’s more likely that they wanted Obamacare repealed and passed again with Trump’s name on it, given the popularity of Kentucky Kynect.
Bloomberg detailed the problems for Kentucky Republican Governor Matt Bevin, who ran for governor on killing Obamacare, “including its expansion of Medicaid insurance to the poor. He didn’t do it. Following in the steps of eight Republican governors who sought to expand Medicaid without appearing to do so, he applied for federal permission to add Republican-friendly tweaks to the program instead.”
Many Kentuckians didn’t know they were on Obamacare when they voted for the guy who promised to repeal it. Almost one in three were on it. This same lack of knowledge about Obamacare is evident in the Republican base.
Republicans have been running against Obamacare since its beginning. Instead of trying to tweak it in order to solve inevitable problems with any bill that size or even be a part of it from the beginning, they stuck to their strategy of obstructing Obama at all costs, even when he was presenting an idea based in part on one of their ideas.
So it’s ironic that the Republican health care bills are the catalyst of erosion in Trump’s support.
You can do a lot of things to people, but taking their health care away, taking aim at Medicare and Medicaid and or Social Security, are never good political ideas.
Once people have something, they are loath to give it up.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.